But one thing has become clear in the course of this story. National and Labour are both being economic with the truth how a fuel line came to be leaking 80m³ of fuel. Perhaps it is fitting for the final week of a chaotic election campaign that has seen wild swings in the polls from Labour to National and back to Labour.
Trying to make sense of who is involved is another matter. National and Labour are blaming each other, though if one looks at who knows what, it has been known since 2005. This means that for the last three years of the previous Labour Government and the entire duration of this Government it has been known that there is a problem with the pipe. And a more recent report from 2012 suggesting that there should be a back up plan does not help the situation either.
Airlines flying in and out of Auckland International Airport are being constricted by the lack of fuel. And thousands of passengers have suffered delays. No doubt this has included politicians trying to get to meetings and last week campaign events.
To show how serious the issue is being taken, a Royal New Zealand Navy tanker has been drafted in to deliver fuel.
What I find perhaps surprising is the lack of alarm being shown by the Department of Conservation in having so much fuel leak into the environment.
For a Government that has spent billions on roads and talks about infrastructure being critical to New Zealand’s development, and also given its support for oil, the lack of emphasis on maintaining this infrastructure – or getting the parties responsible for it to do so – is perhaps the most surprising aspect.
But as we progress through the final days of the N.Z. election campaign, I doubt this is going to change voters minds. The ones that have already made their minds up will just be hardened further.
The only thing that can really be debated is how this will impact on New Zealand’s reputation. Some say we just need to stay came and let the authorities get on top of it. Others will be less impressed – especially if they find their flight taking a several thousand kilometre detour because there is not enough fuel to get out of Auckland. And the saying goes one disgruntled customer will tell for people – if they then tell four more each, it is easy to see how this could spiral out of control if not dealt with quickly.